Sickle-cell disease, the world’s most widespread genetic disease – particularly in Africa –, affects the haemoglobin, resulting in very painful, acute attacks and potentially fatal complications, especially in children.
Approximately 50 million people worldwide are carriers of sickle cell trait and therefore likely to transmit this genetic haemoglobin disorder to their offspring. This disease, emblematic of the populations of Africa and its diaspora, limits the life expectancy of those afflicted if they do not receive proper treatment: it is thought that half the children die before the age of five.
As a “neglected” and under-diagnosed illness, sickle-cell disease is a global health concern that is nevertheless not addressed by major international aid programmes. The Fondation Pierre Fabre has been dedicated to fighting this disease for over a decade, with several clear objectives: improve screening and treatment, train healthcare professionals and encourage research, while serving as a powerful advocate for those with sickle-cell disease to help make the illness a global health priority.
The Foundation is focusing its efforts on neonatal screening for the disease, an uncommon practice in Africa, and facilitating access to proper care. Starting with the Research Centre to combat sickle cell disease (CRLD) founded in Bamako, it intends to broadly disseminate the necessary skills for this battle elsewhere on the continent and in the Caribbean region, and forge effective South-South collaborations.